|Publication number||US6969042 B2|
|Application number||US 10/837,502|
|Publication date||Nov 29, 2005|
|Filing date||May 1, 2004|
|Priority date||May 1, 2004|
|Also published as||CA2565439A1, CA2565439C, EP1771638A1, US20050242308, WO2005106187A1|
|Publication number||10837502, 837502, US 6969042 B2, US 6969042B2, US-B2-6969042, US6969042 B2, US6969042B2|
|Inventors||Stephen Thomas Gaydos|
|Original Assignee||Varco I/P, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (79), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (48), Classifications (7), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention is directed to blowout preventers, to actuators for blowout preventer rams, and to methods of their use.
2. Description of Related Art
In a variety of situations, blowout preventers are used to control sub-surface pressures that may adversely affect equipment used in drilling oil and gas wells. Manual mechanisms and pneumatic or hydraulic pressure are employed to act on a piston to close or open ram sealing elements. Often hydraulic actuation is used when the required closing forces are relatively high. Hydraulic actuation force is applied to a cylinder containing a piston which in turn acts on a shaft having a ram element connected thereto. A closing force in such an apparatus may be substantially equivalent to the effective cross-sectional area of the piston multiplied by the pressure of the hydraulic fluid.
In a variety of prior art blowout preventers an enhanced closing force is applied to rams that are part of the blowout preventer, e.g., shear rams for shearing and closing off a tubular. In some prior art systems to achieve a desired closing force an hydraulic booster increases the effective closing force for a given hydraulic actuation pressure. In certain prior art systems, an hydraulic booster piston is placed in series with a main actuator piston and often the hydraulic booster provides a piston which has a larger cross-sectional area upon which the hydraulic pressure acts, thereby increasing the closing force. In one aspect a booster piston is attached to a far end of a guide rod and the near end of the guide rod acts on a high pressure side of the main actuator piston. A net closing force on the primary piston shaft is increased by the mechanical force to the main actuator piston resulting from hydraulic pressure to the booster piston. On some prior art systems the additive force of a booster or secondary piston on a primary piston will produce a total force that exceeds the strength of material of a ram block, resulting in the yielding or bending of the material. e.g. material of the wall on either side of a top seal vertical leg component.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,452 discloses, inter alia, a blowout preventer ram actuator mechanism with a primary piston including an outer sleeve portion which supports an independently movable locking piston which has tapered surfaces, and locking segments each engage one of a plurality of tapered locking rods fixed to the actuating mechanism housing. Since locking piston components move independently of the primary piston, an axially centered boosting force may not be exerted directly against internal moving parts without risking premature locking of the primary piston.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,560, co-owned with the present invention, discloses, inter alia, blowout preventer ram actuating mechanisms that include an hydraulic booster for enhancing the ram closing force. The ram actuating mechanism may be compatible for use with primary pistons which include internal moving components, such as self locking pistons. The ram actuating mechanism provide an hydraulic booster without increasing the diameter of the booster pistons above the diameter of the primary piston, so that stack height need not be increased to accommodate a relatively large diameter hydraulic booster. The ram actuating mechanism may utilize the same piston housing as used by the primary piston, and the booster pistons may act mechanically in series upon the primary piston to increase axial ram closing force.
The present inventor has recognized that there is a need to reduce the overall space and volume required by a blowout preventer and to reduce the weight of blowout preventers; but it is also necessary that a blowout preventer develop sufficient force on its rams to shear a tubular about which it is positioned. The present inventor has also recognized that it is also desirable in some circumstances to relieve or reduce the force on blowout preventer rams to reduce the pressure that is initially applied to the ram bodies and to their seals by a dual-piston actuator in order to prolong seal life and/or prevent deformation of ram blocks. The present inventor has also recognized that, in reducing the pressure on the closed rams, the requirement remains to positively maintain the rams in a closed position.
The present invention, in certain aspects, teaches a ram-type blowout preventer with rams actuated by dual-piston actuators. A dual piston actuator according to the present invention, has, in certain aspects, housings in which a primary piston and a booster piston are simultaneously movable to move a ram shaft which in turn moves a ram of the blowout preventer. In one particular aspect the pistons are located, sized, and configured so that, upon movement and closure of the rams, the force of the booster piston on the rams is eliminated by limiting the booster piston's travel when the primary piston is near full stroke travel. To maintain the rams in a closed position while the force of the booster position on the rams has been eliminated, a movable locking member within and extending through a bore of the booster piston is selectively movable to abut an end of the ram shaft to mechanically maintain the ram shaft and its associated ram in a ram-closed position.
In certain aspects the locking member is operable by turning an exterior shaft extension projecting from the blowout preventer. Alternatively the locking member is movable automatically, e.g. using known automatic operator apparatus, e.g., but not limited to known POSLOCK (TM) apparatus available from Varco Shaffer.
In certain embodiments with the rams of such a blowout preventer mechanically locked in place, the booster piston can move to its initial pre-activation position within the housing so that its force is not applied to the lock rod while the lock rod maintains the rams in a closed position. Thus, if the blowout preventer is inadvertently opened (i.e. an operator inadvertently operates the blowout preventer to retract the rams), the booster piston begins to move and is allowed to move all the way back to its initial position and its force is not applied to the lock rod. If, upon such inadvertent opening, the force of both pistons was applied to the lockrod, the lock rod could bend preventing unlocking of the blowout preventer and opening of the rams and requiring expensive repairs.
It is, therefore, an object of at least certain preferred embodiments of the present invention to provide:
New, useful, unique, efficient, non-obvious blowout preventers, ram actuators for blowout preventers, and methods of their use;
Such blowout preventers with ram actuators having dual pistons and apparatus for selectively eliminating the force of one of the pistons on a ram shaft whose movement effects ram closure;
Such blowout preventers with such actuators having mechanical apparatus for maintaining rams in a closed position whether or not force is applied by the piston(s);
Such blowout preventers with such actuators which eliminate the force of a booster piston on rams so that pressure on ram seals and/or parts of ram blocks and/or ram block faces is reduced and/or damage to a lock rod is inhibited; and
New, useful, unique, efficient, and nonobvious blowout preventers which provide sufficient force to close rams therein, shearing a tubular around which the blowout preventer, yet which, compared to certain previous apparatuses, are relatively smaller and weigh relatively less.
The present invention recognizes and addresses the previously-mentioned problems and long-felt needs and provides a solution to those problems and a satisfactory meeting of those needs in its various possible embodiments and equivalents thereof. To one of skill in this art who has the benefits of this invention's realizations, teachings, disclosures, and suggestions, other purposes and advantages will be appreciated from the following description of preferred embodiments, given for the purpose of disclosure, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. The detail in these descriptions is not intended to thwart this patent's object to claim this invention no matter how others may later disguise it by variations in form or additions of further improvements.
A more particular description of certain embodiments of the invention may be had by references to the embodiments which are shown in the drawings which form a part of this specification.
A primary piston 30 is movably situated in the primary housing 15. An end 71 of a ram shaft 70 is secured to the primary piston 30 with a lock nut 72. Movement of the primary piston 30 moves the ram shaft 70 and a ram 80 connected thereto. The ram shaft 70 moves in a bore 12 i of the base 12.
A booster piston 20 movably situated in the secondary housing 16 has an end 22 which is movable in and through a bore 13 c of the middle plate 13. A push piston 50 is free floating and movably mounted in a bore 21 of the booster piston 20. A lock sleeve 60 (interiorly threaded) is positioned and free to move within the bore 21 initially with an end adjacent an end of the push piston 50. A lock rod 40 has an end 41 within the push piston 50 and an end 42 which projects out from the top plate 14. Optionally, the end 42 has a square or hex shaped portion 43 for coaction with a wrench to move the lock rod 40.
A brass bushing 18 c surrounds the ram shaft 70 and acts as a back up to a seal 18 g. Injectable sealant (e.g. any known suitable injectable sealing material, including, but not limited to, injectable plastic) is injectable through an injection port 18 d through ports 18 f through the brass bushing 18 c. A set screw 18 h holds sealant in the injection port which sealant flows around the shaft 70. The lock rod 40 has exterior threads 40 a for threaded mating with the threads of the lock sleeve 60.
A space 90 is within the primary housing 15; a space 91 is within the secondary housing 16; a space 93 is within the middle plate 13; and a space 92 is within the top plate 14. Hydraulic fluid under pressure for moving the pistons 20, 30, and 50 is provided by an hydraulic fluid pressure source 11 a.
As shown in
To open the rams 80, fluid from the source 11 a flows in the channels 12 c, 12 d into the space 90, pushing the primary piston 30 toward the plate 13 moving the ram shaft 70 and the ram 80 away from a tubular T. Fluid also flows from the space 90 through the channels 12 f, 12 e, and 12 g into the space 91, moving the booster piston 20 toward the cylinder head 14 so that the shaft 20 a of booster piston 20 does not impede movement of the primary piston 30.
The closing speed of the two pistons 20, 30 is equalized by permitting fluid to flow through the channel 40 b and from the channel 12 d into a space 40 f between the lock rod 40 and the push piston 50 and lock sleeve 60. This fluid flows out from the space 40 f and onto the top side of the booster piston 20 (thus moving the booster piston 20 at the same rate as the primary piston 30 so the combined force of both pistons is continuously applied in one smooth stroke. Desirably, fluid flow through the channel 12 c is equalized by fluid flow through the channels 40 d and 40 b and the space 40 f. With the free floating piston 50, the lock sleeve 60, the lock rod 40 (threaded into the lock sleeve 60) and the anti-rotation plate 61 (restraining the lock sleeve 60's axial movement) all located within the booster piston 20, when the booster piston 20 stops short of the primary piston 30 at full stroke, there still is a rigid lock between the ram shaft 70 and the thrust bushing 14 b (the lock including the booster piston 20, the lock rod 40 and the lock sleeve 60). This locking is achieved with the lock rod 40 independent of the ram shaft 70 and of the primary piston 30.
Pressurized hydraulic fluid enters into the space 90 and flows into spaces 92 and 93.
The primary piston 30 (
As show in
The lock rod 40 and the lock sleeve 60 have mating threads.
As shown in
As shown in
In one particular comparison, comparing a prior art commercially available Shaffer 1310 SL Blowout Preventer with a 14 square inch primary piston and a 16 square inch booster piston to a blowout preventer according to the present invention with a 15¼ inch diameter and a 182.6 square inch area primary piston and a 15¼ inch diameter 179.6 square inch area booster piston (with an effective total piston area of about 355 square inches), the force applied by each blowout preventer to a ram shaft is either about the same or the new system's force is slightly larger; e.g., with one particular embodiment of the new system according to the present invention, the blowout preventer is about two feet (or about thirty percent) shorter; each piston has a diameter of about 15¼ inches and there is total effective piston area of about 360 square inches so the developed force is slightly larger than that developed with the old system. In one particular embodiment of the new system according to the present invention, part of the apparatus is moved into the door. Also in the new system the lock rod does not extend through the primary piston and is not connected to the ram shaft as in the old system; and in the new system the force of the booster piston can be removed from the ram shaft while the force of the primary piston is still applied to the ram shaft.
The present invention provides, in certain embodiments, a blowout preventer with a main body, a base releasably connected to the main body, the base having a base space therein, the base having a ram shaft opening, a primary piston movably disposed within the base space, a ram shaft to which the primary piston is connected, the ram shaft including a ram end and a piston end, a ram connected to the ram end of the ram shaft, a housing connected to the base, the housing having a housing space therein, the housing including a middle member with a member opening, a booster piston movably disposed within the housing space, the booster piston including a booster shaft projecting therefrom, the booster shaft movable within the member opening, the booster shaft having a booster shaft space therein, the shaft including a push portion with part thereof within the booster shaft space, the push portion including an end portion movable with the booster piston to abut the piston end of the ram shaft to prevent movement of the ram shaft, the push portion positioned for transferring force of the booster piston to the primary piston upon abutment of the end portion with the piston end of the ram shaft, and fluid channel apparatus for directing power fluid to and from the primary piston and the booster piston. Such a blowout preventer may have one or some, in any possible combination, of the following: the blowout preventer locking apparatus within the booster shaft space for selectively holding the push portion against the ram shaft so that the combination of forces of force of the booster piston and force of the primary piston is maintained on the ram; wherein the push portion includes a push piston movably disposed within the booster shaft space, the push piston having a push piston end movable to abut the piston end of the ram shaft; wherein the locking apparatus includes a lock rod with a lock rod portion movably disposed within the push piston; wherein the booster piston has a piston surface and the middle member having an abutment surface located such that said abutment surface contacts said piston surface when the booster piston reaches a limit of its stroke; wherein, upon contact of the abutment surface with the piston surface, the locking sleeve is movable to move the push piston into contact with the piston end of the ram shaft so that force transfer between the booster piston and the primary piston is maintained; wherein the lock rod is selectively rotatable to remove the force of the booster piston from the primary piston following selected action by the ram by backing off the push piston from the piston end of the ram shaft; wherein a portion of the lock rod projects out from the housing and is manually rotatable with a suitable tool; a lock sleeve disposed above the push piston in the booster shaft space, the lock sleeve having a shearable lip projecting outwardly therefrom, said lip shearable against a part of the booster piston in response to force applied to the lock sleeve by the booster piston thereby permitting movement of the booster piston so that a force applied by the booster piston through the lock rod to the ram shaft is no longer applied to the ram shaft; wherein the lock rod is connected to automatic lock rod rotation apparatus which automatically rotates the lock rod, the automatic lock rod rotation apparatus including a control system for controlling said rotation and a power system for providing power for said rotation; wherein the push piston is selectively movable so that force of the booster piston is selectively removable from the primary piston; and/or flow channel apparatus within the push piston for conducting power fluid to the booster piston so that the booster piston and the primary piston move simultaneously.
The present invention provides, in certain embodiments, a blowout preventer with a main body; a base releasably connected to the main body, the base having a base space therein, the base having a ram shaft opening; a primary piston movably disposed within the base space; a ram shaft to which the primary piston is connected, the ram shaft including a ram end and a piston end; a ram connected to the ram end of the ram shaft; a housing connected to the base, the housing having a housing space therein, the housing including a middle member with a member opening; a booster piston movably disposed within the housing space, the booster piston including a booster shaft projecting therefrom, the booster shaft movable within the member opening, the booster shaft having a booster shaft space therein; the primary piston and the booster piston movably disposed for applying force to the ram shaft; a free floating push piston movably disposed in the booster shaft space; selective lock apparatus for selectively contacting the free floating push piston to selectively transfer force of the booster piston to the ram shaft and to selectively isolate the ram shaft from the booster piston; and fluid channel apparatus for directing power fluid to and from the primary piston and the booster piston.
The present invention provides, in certain embodiments, a method for operating a blowout preventer, the method including rotating a lock rod of a blowout preventer to lock a ram shaft in position, the blowout preventer like any blowout preventer disclosed herein with a lock rod.
In conclusion, therefore, it is seen that the present invention and the embodiments disclosed herein and those covered by the appended claims are well adapted to carry out the objectives and obtain the ends set forth. Certain changes can be made in the subject matter described, shown and claimed without departing from the spirit and the scope of this invention. It is realized that changes are possible within the scope of this invention and it is further intended that each element or step recited in any of the following claims is to be understood as referring to all equivalent elements or steps. The following claims are intended to cover the invention as broadly as legally possible in whatever form its principles may be utilized.
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|U.S. Classification||251/1.3, 251/1.1|
|Cooperative Classification||E21B33/062, E21B33/063|
|European Classification||E21B33/06B2S, E21B33/06B2|
|Oct 7, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: VARCO I/P, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GAYDOS, STEPHEN THOMAS;REEL/FRAME:015872/0792
Effective date: 20041001
|Dec 8, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Mar 8, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|May 18, 2017||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12